Republicans are encouraged by headlines, such as at Bloomberg, that Obama Approval Plummets to New Low Among Americans Skeptical of Jobs Plan. This is discouraging news, but I also wouldn’t have expected one speech to bring about an immediate turn-around for Obama. On the other hand, Republicans need to be cautious as their support in the polls has dropped even more than that of Obama. Several polls have findings similar to the CNN polls showing Americans trust Obama more than the Republicans on the economy.
As people are frustrated with both Democrats and Republicans over the state of the economy, 2012 could be a bad year for incumbents. However polls of positions supported by voters often do not correlate well with actual election results, as voters have frequently voted Republican while supporting Democratic policies. Last night’s special elections in New York and Nevada showed that 2011 is still an awful lot like 2010. Democrats have over a year to turn things around, benefited by factors such as that the facts are on their side, and the opposing side is supporting extremist ideas which Americans do not support. Unfortunately, ever since their victories in 2008 Democrats have been losing the messaging wars–badly. If the Democrats do not do a better job of showing what they stand for and why voters must reject the Republicans, I fear that in 2012 many voters in Democratic areas will vote against the incumbent, while voters in Republican districts will vote against Obama and his party.
It would be disastrous if a party which opposes Medicare and Social Security while supporting theocracy and further transfer of wealth to the ultra-wealthy controls the government. Unless Democrats do a better job of winning the spin wars over the next fourteen months, this very well can happen. Further Republican appointees to the Supreme Court can tip the balance away from individual liberty for years to come.
Obama’s major accomplishments, such as reforming health care so that people cannot be denied coverage for preexisting conditions, and keeping us out of a depression with the first stimulus, have been turned from political selling points to negatives for the Democrats. Far too many voters believe a fictional account of what Republicans believe as well as a fictional account of Democratic policies which is spread by the right wing noise machine. When the Democrats do not do an adequate job of defining themselves and their policies, they make it easy for the Republicans to do it instead. Obama shares part of this blame, but this has been a problem with the Democratic Party which existed before Obama was even in the Senate. Responding to this by turning on Obama only increases the chances of Rick Perry taking office in 2013 with both Houses of Congress under Republican control.
The left was far more united when George Bush was in office, as it was far easier to agree on opposing Bush’s destructive policies than it is for the wide variety of individuals on the left to agree as to what should be done. The one thing we should all agree on is that we cannot have another era of Republican control, which is likely to be even worse than the Bush years. Differences in opinion with Obama, often exaggerated by the limitations upon what he can accomplish, are trivial compared to what a Perry government would do. There is a small number on the left who manage to do incredible mental gymnastics and twist the facts to claim Obama is worse than Bush. Hopefully they will wake up to reality before 2012 or we might really see the harm that a president who is worse than Bush can do to the country.